Lesley Goffinet

A Little can go a Long Way

A Scotland native who emigrated to the U.S., Lesley Goffinet lived in Sandpoint for more than 15 years before her death in 2013 at age 54. In her last months, Lesley worked with an attorney to set up a testamentary gift to the Idaho Community Foundation. Her dear friend Allison Gilmore talks here about Lesley and why she left a bequest that benefits PAFE.

Lesley Goffinet was an adventuresome woman, a voracious reader and largely self-taught in multiple fields and undertakings: horse trainer, EMT, massage therapist and educator, writer and poet. She was a horse- and dog-whisperer and nature lover. She and her husband Don backpacked around the world, and Lesley wrote compassionately of the poverty, famine, and squalor they witnessed and the privilege they felt upon returning to their home in Sandpoint.

Lesley had much love and loss in her life: Her parents and a beloved sister died of cancer, and two husbands preceded her. She assisted them all in their illnesses and deaths and somehow remained the open-hearted, quick-witted person her many friends knew her to be. 

A few of Lesley’s close friends, including me, had been involved with PAFE since its early years. Lesley was not wealthy but she was cautious and conscious with her money, and near the end of her life that allowed her to set up the ICF fund. She had time to think about her legacy: She was single with no kids, and her great passions were learning and literature – her home and office had floor-to-ceiling bookshelves – so she designated the fund for programs that focus on reading. 

Education is a game-changer – it was how Lesley got to the U.S., became successful in her fields, earned citizenship – and was a natural cause for her to support. She understood PAFE’s mission, its focus on reading, and how its funds are managed by professional investors working pro bono for the organization. 

Lesley was a generous, caring soul who made each person or animal she came in contact with feel for that moment that she was a part of their life. She wanted to extend that caring spirit beyond her lifetime, and what better way to do it than to help children with their education. She saw this gift as a good investment that would benefit her adopted community for decades to come.

Allison Gilmore is a a retired teacher who taught at Sandpoint Middle School and for North Idaho College. She joined the PAFE Board of Directors in 2005.